Friday, September 12, 2014

525600 Minutes - 102

How do you measure a year in the life?  Yesterday was 9/11.  Do you remember?  Do you remember where you were that Tuesday 13 years ago?  I do.  It took 102 minutes from start to finish.  102 minutes that have changed everything for the United States of America.  I still can't talk about it without crying.  I'm not from New York and I didn't have a family member killed that day, but my heart hurts just the same.  I so wish I could forget, but our country can never go back.  I imagine this is how my grandparents felt about December 7th.  

I watched a special last night on TLC about the 102 minutes.  It was foreboding knowing what was going to happen.  I was heartbroken knowing that the firemen I saw on the screen probably did not make it out of the buildings alive.  I could feel the panic among all the people filming & watching the first tower & then the pandemonium that erupted when the second plane flew into the second tower.  At first there was the unknown question of why is one of the towers was on fire.  Paper everywhere, shrapnel coming off the building; billows of smoke; fire; people jumping....  I remember when I heard someone on tv say there were people jumping, my heart dropped.  Then you see it, the second plane coming in & directly smash into the building.  I saw it happen on tv.  I thought I was dreaming.

For her history class, Elizabeth had to ask me questions about that day.  How am I supposed to pinpoint just one thing?  Because I can't.  Can anyone who is old enough to remember that day just choose one thing that defines that day?  There is one image that I think of immediately as how we as a country felt that day.  I have scoured the internet looking for it, but can't find it.  It is an American woman who was in England on 9/11.  Someone hung a US flag from a tree & you see her holding the flag to her face & weeping into it.  When I think of that day, I think of how we all mourned as a country, no matter where you were.  I noticed there was no looting that day.  There was no added violence outside of the 4 terrorist attacks that I remember.  There was a singularity of being and purpose.  We were Americans & we stand together.


For the year of 2001, our country lived 525498 minutes, because we died a little that day.  102 minutes, that's it.  4 planes, 2 skyscrapers, 1 government building, 1 field in Pennsylvania.  102 minutes that have defined us for 13 years.  It's time for us to remember why we were crushed that day.  We need to say 'No More' to the terrorists that brought this to our doorstep.  It's time for the sleeping giant to awaken, and we need to be the America we were on 9/11/2001.

Celebrating Life & living in the great country in the world,
~ashley

  

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Just Be Nice

Raising children can be hard.  Let me rephrase, dealing with other people's children can be hard. My children are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some things they know.  They know what the expectations are for them in almost every situation.  (They should, we go over them enough.)  They know that when I say no, I mean no.  They know that when Hopson & I look at them 'that way' they better cease and desist what they are doing, or they will have consequences.  Other people's children may not know these things.  

There are so many things I want for my children.  I pray for my children to be kind.  I want them to have the courage to stand up for people who can't stand up for themselves.  I want them to be a good friend in both word and deed.  I want them to be unafraid to love people, even when others hurt or are mean to them.  I want them to be bold in their knowledge of truth; be able to see it; call it what it is; and be unafraid to stand for it.  You know the real reason I want this?  Because mean people suck.  I know that it's not nice to say that, but it's true.

I have questions, and the more I read and experience life, it seems the more I have.  It's a little frustrating, because it seems many of the questions breed more questions.  I think most of them center around human behavior, and if I could figure out the answers to all the questions I have, I would easily be a best selling author.  :)  But since I have no answers...here I sit.

So with all that said...help your children learn to be nice.  Help your children learn to show others their friendship.  Words are cheap.  It is up to you to be the example your children can learn from.  Don't let celebrities be your children's role models, that's your job.   If you're one of those parents, either intentionally or unintentionally, raising "mean kids", let me tell you, hey thanks.  You know why?  Because, mean people suck, just be nice.

Celebrating life & being nice,
~ashley      

     

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Let Me Sleep

For some reason, I find this article hilarious!
For the love of Pete, LET ME SLEEP.

But, don't tell me when to sleep; where to sleep; or how to sleep.

I have found that as I have gotten older I am sleeping less and less.  My mother-in-law told me this would happen.  I really hoped she was making it up, but she wasn't.  I have noticed that I am sleepiest around 8-9, but if I can stay up to 11, I can stay up all night.  Or rather I will stay up at least until 3am.  It would be great, if I were a vampire.  Since I'm not it really stinks.

If you are on social media in the middle of the night it is amazing the number of friends who are wide awake with you.  Last month I posted on facebook "I love insomnia, insomnia's my favorite" with a few cute emojies with it.  Someone made me giggle by writing back for me to make sleep my favorite.  Trust me, if I could make sleep my favorite I would.

I'm an early bird, so when the sunshine is awake, so am I.  It doesn't matter how little sleep I've had, if the sun is up my eyes are open.  In the middle of the night, little sounds that no else in my house would stir to will jolt me out of bed:  a little scratch on the door; a dog chewing on a shoe; a child staring me down in the bed; people and animals snoring; and the buzzing of my phone charger.  It's pretty annoying.

I saw the picture above today & when I started reading it, I had to giggle.  I do want to sleep, badly, but like I said already, don't tell when, were or how.  I love the line above that says "...persuade her to get a few extra hours snuggling under the duvet.  Or face the consequences."  Yeah, whatever.  I don't do well with those kinds of commands, and if I'm hot, I don't want to snuggle.  Hopson likes to tell me that I might be able lose a little more weight if I had more sleep.  Well thank you very much captain obvious.  (On a side note, I LOVE the new Captain Obvious commercials, they are hilarious.)  Now, all I need to do is figure out a way to sleep.  I don't take sleeping pills, I hate to take any kind of medicine really.  Have you ever read the possible side effects of different meds...I will say no thank you to those.  I am turning into my MeMaw; she would be so proud.  I will occasionally take melatonin, but I need at least 8 hours of sleep, and that won't work if I'm going to bed after 10.  (which is most nights)  :/

Fortunately or unfortunately, I know so many moms who are in the same boat as I am in.  Too much to do with so little time.  :)  Occupational hazard I guess.  So, until I figure out how to get more sleep, if you see me on facebook or other social media very late at night or early in the morning, stop by & say hey.  We'll commiserate together, because as the saying goes:  misery loves company.  :)

Celebrating Life & wishing for a few more minutes of sleep,
~ashley  

    

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dear Cell Phone User

I may have to get some of these.
You know, I think the quote "no good deed goes unpunished" is true.  I tried to do something nice for Hopson while he is gone on a mission trip & I ended up wanting to shove bamboo skewers under my fingernails.  Some people and their lack of manners...

Hopson asked me to take is very dirty car to get cleaned while he was away.  No problem, it was my pleasure to do this for him, well almost.  (I found out one of main love languages is acts of service, so he was totally speaking my love language.)  Until...the most obnoxious lady decided to get on her phone in the waiting area.  Not only was she a loud talker, her phone was on speaker while she was holding it up to her ear.  Would someone hit me over the head with a tack hammer?  Hello, McFly...really?  You can't tell your phone is on speaker?  Oui! I thought about the guy who does the cell phone crashing.  If you haven't seen it, you so need to...hilarious.

Can we talk cell phone etiquette?  You don't have to answer that question...it's rhetorical.  If you didn't know there was such a thing, there is.  I think so many people just assume it's their right to talk on their phone anytime and anywhere they want.  Well, I hate to tell you, but you are not the center of the universe & we all do not find pleasure in hearing your conversation.  Here are somethings that you can share with those with no phone etiquette:

  • If you are in line at a store, get off your phone.  Look the cashier in the eye and talk to them.  I know you are catching a super important phone call to find out about your super important job, but seriously, check out takes what, 5-10 minutes max?  Hang up the phone.  If it's your child calling, answer it to make sure it's not one of the 4 B's* (see below for the 4 B's) & if it's not, tell them you'll call them back in 10 minutes.
  • If you can't chew gum and walk, you should not be talking on your phone and driving.  Can I tell you how many people I've seen almost cause wrecks because they can't drive & talk at the same time?  This is considered extreme multi-tasking & some people just stink at it.  Either pull over, get hands free or hang up the phone. 
  • If you are in a waiting room, please leave the waiting room to talk, and for the love of Pete, take your cell phone off of the speaker mode.  I saw your REALLY long list of people you needed to call about picking up their bible study book in the church office today between 10 & 4, and while I appreciate your willingness to call all those people, you could have stepped outside to do it.
  • The speaker phone should be activated when:  everyone is speaking to grandparents (although, half the time they can't hear you any way); everyone speaking to a family member who is living far away; you are in carpool and trying to hide the fact that you are on your phone. (if you don't have hands free); or you are on hold & trying to get chores taken care of.  Those are the only reasons I can think of to use the speaker. 
  • When you are on your phone in public, you should not be yelling to the person on the other end.  We don't want to hear everything you're talking about.  If they can't hear you or you can't hear them, you need to talk to them later.
Yes I'm probably making more of this than I should, but I was in the waiting area for about an hour & for 45 minutes had the privilege of listening to this woman's phone conversations.  I will for sure pass on all this info to all my children to make sure they know to use their phone etiquette as well.

Celebrating life & a little bit of quiet,
~ashley  

*This is the list we used when our children were little to keep them from coming to us for every piddley argument they had with their siblings.  I have to say, it worked pretty well.  So, as promised...
The 4 B's
1.  Barfing
2.  Bleeding
3.  Broken
4.  Burning

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lean, Mean, Workout Machine

Y'all know I love Zumba & Pilates.  I've recently added muscle works & barre classes into the rotation.  I needed to do something to change up my routine & confuse my muscles.  I hate working out with weights by myself, so the muscle works classes are great because misery loves company.  (even though I think my instructors are part Terminator...)   Barre is a class I love to hate.  It is so stinking hard.  My muscles burn & shake all over the place.  It's not pretty.

I have had a personal goal for myself for the last few months.  I wanted to be able to do "boy" triceps push ups.  For you to understand this goal I need to back up & explain some things about me.  I have strong legs.  My mom used to tell me I had thighs Bo Jackson would be proud of.  :/  That is just what every teenage girl wants to hear.  They are tree trunks though.  My father-in-law told me that my booty looks like JLo's.  Thanks...I, guess?  So you get the idea, I'm shaped like a pear with a big fanny & thighs.  Yea! (said no female ever)  Now I've decided I'm built more like a T-Rex.  Strong legs & little wimpy arms.  I detest push ups & have never tried (nor intend to) a pull up.

Over the 2 years I have done Pilates, I have noticed my body getting stronger.  I usually do my push ups on my knees & can go all the way down, like my nose touching the floor down, hold it if I'm threatened told to & then push back up without breaking form.  In one of muscle works classes a few weeks ago, we did 100 pushups...and yes I did all 100.  It was a...well this is a PG blog so I can't put what it was, but you get the drift.

Today I decided I was going to do boy push ups.  Our heals had to be together and our toes a little wider if we were up in full plank position.  It's called a Pilates 'V'.  It added a layer of pain fun.  I also decided I was not going to break body position, or go down half way & then come back up.  If I was doing these things, I was doing the full nose to the floor one.  To my surprise, I did it.  I don't think it was very pretty, but I did it.  The T-Rex did it.  :)  No one in my fam was really impressed, but I still know that I did it.  I'm a lean, mean, workout machine.  Now if I could just get my knee healed & stop rolling my ankle I'd be good to go.

Oh well, I have to take the wins where I can get them.  :)  A huge thank you to my instructors:  Kaitlin, Terri & Natalie!  Y'all are incredible.  Thank you for pushing me in your classes to be the strongest & best me.

Celebrating Life, boy push ups & being healthy!
~ashley    

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What Would You Say?

Over the last week we have all been talking about Robin Williams.  What a wonderful actor with a tragic end.  He brought laughter to multitudes, but all the while he was in pain.  It started me thinking...what if we had the chance to tell him how much he moved us?  What if we told him that just his smile made our hearts a little lighter?  What if...what if...what if.

Why do we wait until someone has passed away to realize how special they are to us?  We go to their funerals & talk about what great people they were; how much they are going to be missed; how we're praying for their family; but neglect them while they are living.  Why do I not call, text or email to let them know now?  Why don't I call them up to meet for lunch?  Is it life that gets in the way?  Am I just a selfish lazy person?  Am I too proud?

If you knew someone was hurting, to the point of wanting to commit suicide, what would you say to them?  Would you offer a few comments to temporarily ease their pain and walk away, or would you stand beside them?  I know what I should do, but would I fail in the follow through?  So many questions and so few answers.

I've seen the little Facebook posters that say that you never know who is hurting that you might come in contact with.  How true.  We never 'see' the people who feel friendless, unloved and alone.  The ones who struggle with inner thoughts of worthlessness.  They hide it well don't they.  And when they choose to end their life, we are shocked that we didn't see it coming.  Maybe we are trying to see with the wrong part of our bodies.  Just a thought.

I am thankful for Robin Williams.  He always made me laugh, and few times made me cry.  He was truly one of a kind.  I hope he found the peace he was so looking for.  All I know is that there is a little less laughter in the world since his passing.

Remembering to love a little more,
~ashley          

Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oh My Goodness, It Worked

Well, I do believe you could have blown me down with a feather.  Something I have been trying to train the children to do for a week seems to have taken hold.

The one thing I really dislike about summer and the children being home is all the cups we go through.  It's not 1 or 2 cups per person it's more like 4.  If my children were toddlers or young children, I might be able to handle it, but the youngest is 12 for the love of Pete.  Rinse, reuse, recycle.  Well, not the recycling part, but you get my meaning.  I was sick and tired of the dishwasher, sink and counter being full of cups.  And not only that, they would leave said cups filled half full with milk, water or maybe Gatorade.  Yuck!


Well, on Pinterest, (I know, you're shocked!)  I found a great way to relieve the great cup pileup of 2014.  It's a reusable cup bar.  It's easy, it's fun, it's fashionable, and you just might want one if you have tons of kids who use tons of cups like my kiddos did.

I found all my supplies at Michael's & it took me all of 10 minutes to assemble them & draw on them.  I used burlap covered canvas frames, slate coasters, hot glue and chalk.  Like I said, it's easy!  Obviously, I hot glued the slate coasters onto the burlap & wrote one person's name per slate.  Since Hoppy is in college, his spot will be empty most of the year, but I couldn't not include him.  :(  Hopson probably won't ever use it, but I needed it to be balanced, so he has one anyway.  :)  This morning when I came home from running carpool, the cup bar looked like the picture on the right!!!  I think I need to do my happy dance.

I'm gonna go ahead & put this into the win column.  WooHoo!!!

Celebrating life & the little things like rinsed & reused cups,
~ashley